Berceuse (Fr.: ‘cradle’, ‘lullaby’; Ger. Wiegenlied)
- Kenneth L. Hamilton
A gentle song intended for lulling young children to sleep. In instrumental music the term usually refers to a character-piece for piano. The defining work of the genre is Chopin's Berceuse in D♭ major op.57 (1843–4), a model imitated by several other composers. Its most notable characteristics are compound time, a quiet dynamic level, a tonic pedal bass and a ‘rocking’ accompaniment oscillating between chords I and V, over which Chopin places a simple melody later varied with a profusion of filigree passagework....